Don’t take the census for granted, benefit from it

Wendy Peters

Those with the “I just don’t care” attitude, who fail to return the 10-question, 2010 census form by the April 17 deadline, will receive visits in the upcoming months from enumerators, who will collect the data necessary to complete the count in person. Fortunately, some unemployed Americans will benefit from this nonchalant attitude and will find work as enumerators with the census in this high unemployment period.

State governments’ grants will benefit from the responses the census generates, and for each extra response in a state, the benefit increases from between a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Enumerators who will assist their state benefit from more than $400 billion up for grabs in the 2010 census, and they are expected to earn between $10 and $25, the cost of which, quite frankly, should be accessed against the non-compliants in one way or another.

We may take for granted community schools, streets, health care and the like, but there are times when the conditions in these programs affect us and we wish we could do something about it. These are the occasions when those who fail to comply have the biggest complaining voices. The flippant attitude that “it’s not my problem” is forgotten when our schools cut programs, reduce class sizes and roads wreak havoc on our vehicles because of potholes or collapses. Yet, it is expected that thousands of Americans will just ignore the census because it is inconvenient to our lives and “not important.”

Before the high unemployment rates and resulting health care costs, many Americans never imagined the need to take advantage of health care facilities and job placement programs provided by our communities, but many now seek out these services.

Funding for schools, highways and other programs funded by the census are at stake, yet some are cavalier. Going to an emergency room, if the need arose, was commonplace. However with hospital closures which are expected to get worse, census funds become more crucial than ever.

The saying, “When one door closes, another opens” is reflected in the neglectful attitudes of some who ignore collective efforts for improvement but benefits the persistence and resiliency in others, hence the enumerators.

Let us understand that we all play a part in revitalizing this economy, no matter how well we may have it now. At some point in time, what goes up must come down — gravity is funny that way. We should care today because tomorrow, we may need the care.